dancing gardener

Garlic Herb Butter Extraordinaire!

This tastes exactly like lobster! Yummy!

Pre chop garlic and herbs and throw into warm blender with melted butter. Pour into ice cube trays and freeze. Pop out of trays and put into little baggies for small use portions.


There is a delicate balance between predators and prey in the world's ecology, and wasps are part of that balance. They may appear to just be a pest, but they also do a lot of good in keeping other insect pests under control. They are really a gardener's friend. UNLESS THEY BITE YOUR ASS! For most of the year we are not particularly aware of the wasps around us, it is only at the end of the season when they become a nuisance. A knowledge of the wasp's life cycle will help understand this.

Mated queen wasps hibernate during the winter and emerge in spring. The queens find suitable nesting sites and begin to build a nest out of a form of paper, made from chewed wood fibres. During this time they will visit flowers and feed on nectar -- this is the one time when wasps are pollinators. The queen lays eggs and feeds the larvae on insect prey. The insect bodies are chewed into a liquid which is fed to the grubs. When these first worker wasps emerge they take over most of the queen's duties, except for egg laying. Wasp colonies rapidly increase in size and in just a few weeks populations of 20,000 are quite possible.
Adult wasps feed on nectar or anything sugary. They feed their larvae on insect prey and the larvae exude a sugary liquid on which the adults feed. They are more beneficial to us than people realise: one worker wasp can collect over 100 aphids a day.
At the end of the season, the colony will produce drone wasps and new queens. They go off to mate and for the queens to find somewhere to hibernate. The old queen stops laying, and this is where the nuisance phase starts. No eggs means no larvae; and no larvae means no sugary feed. The wasps have to find alternative sources of food such as ripening fruit, jam, and beehives for the honey.
When the cold weather comes, all of the wasps will die, except for the hibernating new queens.


Tomato seed harvest #3

Merely smack down the filter onto your paper, spread around and allow to dry naturally. I make a book each year of seed pages. In spring just scrape as many seeds as you want. Easy-peasy!


Tomato seed harvest #2

If you want to keep the tomato useful, just slice the skin around the equator and give a little squeeze...voila! Out come the best seeds which i collect in a little plastic strainer that i rinse a bit of the tomato guts off the seeds. 

This is one of the rarest of all....a green grape. Looks like what fills a diaper after feeding broccoli to baby. And splits and gets as mushy too - really fast once it ripens. The trick is to pick it at perfect time. Prolly the most amazing flavor you will ever find.


Tomato seed harvest #1

Pick some of your favourite  tomatoes, take any normal paper and write in pencil the name of the tomato (or make one up), a description of the fruit (size, colour, shape, flavour), and something about the plant size...very important! And if it is determinant (short lived) or indeterminate( will produce till freezing).


I just LOVE these little beauties. They take a while, and use up a lot of space, but once producing make up to 15 of these weird alien flying saucers. So mild and tender. Wave them by an aquarium and they will taste like seafood!


Feast of Fields event on Sunday went very smooth. FarmFolk CityFolk

www.farmfolkcity had about 800 people getting stuffed and liquored up. Proceeds went towards a good cause that touched my heartstrings enough to get my ass out of my gardens to come help. This group helps new farmers and does crazy anti Monsanto stuff like collect natural seeds!


Heirloom Tomatos

These little beauties are priceless! And that is one reason toms like these are not found in restaurants and stores. But if monetary values were necessary, here is the math:
Many heirlooms yield only about 10% of that of a common red variety, natural or gene tailored. So a $2.50/lb store price becomes $25/lb.
Costs  to grow on a small organic basis easily twice that of Monsanto  Blessed industrial farming. Now our tomato is $50/lb. !!!!


This rare heirloom plant produces between one and three fruit in a season.This is the first, and we will just have to wait to see if a perfect scarlet heart appears ....but we all know "waiting is poor time management" so stay tuned for my next blog entry. I will explain why you dont see these in stores and restaurants.

Controlling Tomato Leaf Spot Diseases
Daniels short version:
Planning IS Prevention. All garden plant materials get buried under the deep pile of leaves added in the fall. Everything goes back into the soil except the fruit harvested. Irrigate in such a way water is low on the plant and will not splash soil born bacteria. Tall staking of the plant allows for bottom leaves to go ahead and die...lots more where those came from. 

The long version stole from someone.....
 Nothing is better than a home-grown, garden tomato, but growing tomatoes does have its pitfalls, including disease problems. Tomatoes are subject to many diseases, both leaf spots and wilts. Tomatoes are attacked by both fungi and bacterial diseases that affect the leaves, petioles and stems, and cause blemishes on the fruits. Foliage diseases weaken infected plants by killing the leaves, which are the  plant’s factories for carbohydrate and energy production. Loss of foliage due to disease, causes the tomato plant to be less productive or vigorous. If foliage diseases are not controlled, they can lead to death of the plant. If too many leaves are killed then tomato production and quality will be affected. Severe foliage loss can lead to sunscald on developing tomatoes, which are suddenly exposed to more intense sunlight. Common diseases of tomato include septoria leaf spot, early blight, bacterial speck and bacterial spot. All of these diseases overwinter in the vegetable garden on infected plant debris. The spores are spread during the growing season by wind, water and human activity.
Septoria leaf spot begins as tiny black dots on the leaves, enlarging to small circular spots with a dark margin and gray center. Infected leaves turn yellow and die. Elongated lesions develop on stems and petioles.
Early blight appears as irregular, dark brown areas on the leaves with concentric, black rings developing in a target-like pattern as the spots enlarge. Dark brown, sunken lesions form on stems and petioles. These symptoms appear about 10 days after infection. Early blight occurs in midsummer during warm, humid periods and can spread very rapidly.

 Bacterial speck and spot are both spread by infected plant debris during periods of humid, wet weather. Bacterial speck appears as tiny, pinhead sized, raised black specks on tomato leaves and fruits.
Bacterial spot is very similar to bacterial speck, but the leaf and fruit spots are slightly larger. On tomato fruits, bacterial spot results in slightly raised, brown, scabby lesions.
Sanitation is very important for reducing disease pressure in your garden each year.  Remove all plant debris that is left in the garden from last season before tilling and planting.  Establish a 3-4 year rotation schedule in your garden, by moving those plants most affected by disease to containers or new plots of ground.  Or choose not to grow heavily affected plants for a few years to reduce populations of disease organisms in the soil.
One of the most common methods of tomato leaf infection is through rain splashing on bare soil. All of the diseases mentioned above overwinter on infected plant debris in the soil. During a rainstorm, water droplets hit the soil surface, splashing water and soil up onto the lowest tomato leaves. Prevent rain splash in your garden by covering the soil with mulch. Apply a 2-3 inch layer of mulch, using old leaves, clean straw, newspapers topped with wood chips, or any other coarse organic material. Mulch also helps suppresses weed growth, moderates soil temperature extremes and helps retain soil moisture. Staking is important as an early blight control program, since staking keeps foliage and fruit from contacting the soil surface.
Keep tomato leaves as dry as possible by applying water to the base of plants through soaker hoses, instead of using an overhead sprinkler, since water on the leaf
surface promotes germination of fungal spores and leaf infection.
Remove and discard heavily infected plants. Infections may be slowed by removing diseased leaves as they
For additional disease management, remove debris from tomato and pepper plants in the fall after harvest is completed or till debris into the soil.

daniel tomelin, dancing gardener, dancing gardener